Nearly half of the United States have legalized whole plant medical marijuana, and a handful of other states have approved limited amendments which legalize one single cannabinoid concentrate, cannabidiol (CBD) oil. Indiana is not one of those states, and probably no one really expected medical marijuana to even be considered in the conservative Hoosier State. Surprisingly, however, it may actually have a chance in 2015.
Indiana Senator Karen Tallian (D-District 4) has introduced bills to decriminalize the possession of personal amounts of cannabis for the last three years, but none of those measures have earned enough support to receive a hearing. This year, Senator Tallian is shifting gears to sponsor a bill to legalize marijuana for medicinal use.
The measure, SB 284, allows state-licensed physicians to recommend medical marijuana to patients suffering from a handful of debilitating medical conditions. It allows patients to have caregivers, but does not establish licensing for dispensaries. SB 284 also creates a regulatory body called the Department of Marijuana Enforcement (DOME), and an advisory committee to review results and recommendations for the program. This bill is unique because it allows DOME to authorize research licenses and facilities within the state.
The Indiana Senate did not reconvene until 1:30 pm EST, Wednesday January 14, but Senator Karen Tallian already met with Senator Patricia Miller, chair of the Health and Provider Services Committee, to which her medical marijuana bill was assigned. Whether or not the bill will receive a hearing during the 2015 session is still undecided, but the word “no” has not yet been spoken.
Senator Tallian was unavailable for comment when the Whaxy staff called to ask how the meeting with the Health Committee chair went, but her legislative assistant, Brent Stinson said,
“Senator Tallian met briefly with Senator Miller yesterday to gauge if the bill would receive a hearing. She [Miller] did not indicate yes or no, but we should know in about one week.”
Senator Miller was in a meeting when the Whaxy staff called to ask about her stance on the medical marijuana bill. Her legislative assistant, Jeremy Hoffman, said,
“Senator Miller has not decided yet whether the medical marijuana bill will receive a hearing. She did meet with Senator Tallian already this morning, and that is all I know.”
In these situations, it is important for legislators to hear from constituents. If you live in Indiana and want to encourage or discourage the Health Committee chairperson, Senator Patricia Miller, to give the medical marijuana bill a hearing, you may contact her via phone or email at:
- 317-232-9489 (legislative assistant Jeremy Hoffman will answer this line)
- email: [email protected]
photo credit: thestatehousefile